Some of you might believe that post title to be a bit hyperbolic. You are wrong. Republicans are currently hard at work on making it even more dangerous and deadly for cyclists all over the country. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a swing over to Crooks and Liars where karoli breaks it down:
The Obama administration has made bicycle lanes and safe streets a priority. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood is an avid cyclist who understands the benefits of safe pathways. As one who has nearly been run down by distracted drivers who inadvertently swerve into very narrow bike lanes, every improvement made is one that I view as a lifesaver somewhere to someone.
Enter Rep. John Mica, our new Republican transportation appropriations overlord. Yes, our tea party Congress has proposed killing all guaranteed funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects. Back in July, when the House was busily carving out all sorts of little green projects from the budget, Mica and his crew decided bicycle paths and walkways for pedestrians were just extras we don’t need. Luckily, the Senate had our backs and passed a clean funding extension, but the two bills have not been reconciled yet.
That lack of reconciliation between the two bills is where the hatred for cyclists comes into play. You see, people like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) don’t think we should invest any money in improving bike safety across the country. Because it’s not like Real Americans use bike lanes on a daily basis to get from Point A to Point B. Nope, only commies and terrorists do weird shit like that. And thus, you end up with the following standoff:
Senator Coburn (OK) has said he won’t agree to an extension unless funding for bike projects is stripped out. Representatives Boehner and Cantor have basically said the same thing in the House. Yes, folks, they are willing to hold the entire transportation program hostage – infrastructure spending and millions of real jobs – to get rid of bike projects.
As President of the League of American Bicyclists, Andy Clarke, goes on to note, only an asshole would be so adamantly against investing in improving bike safety across the country. Well, he phrases it a tad more eloquently than I would:
Why would they do this, I hear you ask. After all, bike projects create jobs; bike projects improve safety; more bicyclists means less congestion, cleaner air, less oil consumption, fitter and healthier American’s. It’s baffling. It’s not like the transportation program is going to be cut by the amount they strip out for bike funding…no, the money still gets spent but it will likely buy us another mile or two of freeway instead of thousands of small-scale, labor-intensive bicycling and walking improvements.
Equally, the enhancements program is hardly eating up a massive chunk of the transportation program. Even though Cantor and Boehner like to leave the impression that it’s ten percent of the transportation program…it isn’t. Not even close. It’s ten percent of one of dozens of programs that make up the overall program. In fact, enhancements account for barely one percent of Federal transportation funds.
But remember, while Republicans are literally willing to throw cyclists to
the wolves trucks going 45 MPH, they will be DAMNED if they’ll let you eliminate tax breaks for Big Oil conglomerates like BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips:
The Senate on Tuesday blocked a Democratic proposal to strip the five leading oil companies of tax breaks that backers of the measure said were unfairly padding industry profits while consumers were struggling with high gas prices.
Despite falling eight votes short of the 60 needed to move ahead with the bill, top Democrats said they would insist that eliminating the tax breaks to generate billions of dollars in revenue must be part of any future agreement to raise the federal debt limit.
The defeat on Tuesday was expected since most Republicans were dug in against what they saw as a politically motivated plan in advance of the 2012 elections. Democrats had hoped that directing the savings toward the deficit would make it harder for Republicans to reject it.
In the 52-to-48 vote, 3 Democrats joined 45 Republicans in opposing the bill, which was supported by the Obama administration and fiscal watchdog groups that saw the tax help for the oil industry as wasteful. Forty-eight Democrats, two independents and two Republicans backed it.